Cannon Fodder

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Cannon Fodder

Matthew Yglesias highlights this Max Boot piece calling for the creation of a "Freedom Legion"
The simplest thing to do would be to sign up foreigners for the regular U.S. military, but it would also make sense to create a unit whose enlisted ranks would be composed entirely of non-Americans, led by U.S. officers and NCOs.

Call it the Freedom Legion. As its name implies, this unit would be modeled on the French Foreign Legion, except, again, U.S. citizenship would be part of the "pay." And rather than fighting for U.S. security writ small — the way the Foreign Legion fights for the glory of France — it would have as its mission defending and advancing freedom across the world. It would be, in effect, a multinational force under U.S. command — but one that wouldn't require the permission of France, Germany or the United Nations to deploy.

The Freedom Legion would be the perfect unit to employ in places such as Darfur that are not critical security concerns but that cry out for more effective humanitarian intervention than any international organization could muster. U.S. politicians, so wary (and rightly so) of casualties among U.S. citizens, might take a more lenient attitude toward the employment of a force not made up of their constituents.
Nice. Let's set up an arm of the military comprised of foreigners and send them to get killed doing all the things that we want to do but don't want to get our soldiers killed doing.

And how is this supposed to help in Darfur? Invading a sovereign country, either with domestic or foreign troops, is still an invasion. Sudan won't let foreign peacekeepers with a proper mandate into the country, be they African Union, US or "Freedom Legion." Any such "Freedom Legion" deployment would still require a clear violation of Sudan's sovereignty and be a de facto invasion.

If the genocide in Darfur is so important to the US that it requires forced intervention, the US ought to at least have the courage to send US troops to do it - not outsource the mission to expendable foreigners.

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